- Exploration/questions about their bodies
- Questions about growing up/parents bodies
- What does it mean to be male/female?
- Where do babies come from?
For each of these areas I give some examples of common situations that arise. For each scenario I have also included a fairly typical parental response.
First I would like you to see what message the typical parental response is giving and what the consequences of that response will be. Then I would like you to come up with a response that positively affirms/blesses God’s good creation.
Your son/daughter (age 4) has his/her hand down his pants/knickers and is gently playing with their genitals.
A typical parental response would be to say:
“What do you think you’re doing? Stop that at once – it’s disgusting!”
What is the message that this response is giving?
Well firstly the response forgets that this is a child who has no idea that what they’re doing has any “adult” sexual connotations. It simply feels nice and comforting. So the parent’s reaction will seem quite over the top to their child. Coupled with this will be the message that either feeling nice is bad or my genitals are bad or both and is likely to lead to guilt or shame about their sexuality or sexual feelings. In addition, it will make them unlikely to come to you if they have any questions or concerns in the future – which will lead them to seek answers elsewhere which may be inappropriate.
So what is a better response?
Firstly, we need to affirm that that God made our sexual organs pleasurable as a gift to us (however, this is not the full response – but you’ll have to wait until the next post before we can do that!) and then we need to point to the meaning of the gift. So a response might start something like this:
“I see that you’re touching your …”
“Does it feel nice?”
“Did you know that God made our … to feel nice?”
“Yes it’s true. Daddy God gave you this gift to share with your husband/wife when you grow up because it will help you experience the joy in Heaven when the world was made.”
I hope this helps you see the kind of conversation we’re going for. Honest, affirm it’s goodness and the reason for that – but notice we’ve also put it in the right context: marriage. This last part will be covered in the next post when we talk about the second principle: the holiness of our sexuality. And more details on the how will be covered in the third principle that will be blogged later.
OK, your turn now. Here are some situations and a typical parental response.
Identify what message the current response gives and its consequence and then be. Then I would like you to come up with a response that positively affirms the goodness of our sexuality.
Questions about growing up/parents bodies
Your daughter comes into the bathroom whilst you (mum) are dealing with a period. The daughter sees the blood on the tissue and says “have you cut yourself mummy?”
Current response: get out! this is private!
One of your children comes in whilst you’re having a shower and asks “will I get hair on my body when I get older?”
Current response: You shouldn’t be looking – get out!
What does it mean to be male/female?
One of children (age 3) states proudly “Daddy, boys have ‘willys’ and girls have ‘ginas’*”
Current response: we don’t talk about other people’s body parts!
*At some point you’ll have to decide what to name to give to your children for their genetalia. In our household we used ‘gina’ as a nice form of vagina.
Exploration/questions about their bodies
Your son exclaims “Look dad! When I pull back my skin on my willy there’s a purple bit!”
Your daughter exclaims “Look dad! I’ve got a willy too!” when she opens up her parts and reveals her clitoris…
Current response: Stop that! It’s dirty!